Fiber Optics: Future-Fit and Ready for Convergence

New innovation targets installation ease


Fiber optic transmission products are no newcomer to security—they’ve been in use in the market for some 25 years. What the integrator needs to know is that what once was a very complicated technology is now easier to deploy, and in many cases (especially as IT and security converge), the preferred method of signal transmission. The bottom line is that fiber optic transmission is still the best way to move video, data, audio and Ethernet from point A to B.

There have been many articles written over the years discussing the benefits of using fiber and those advantages are undisputable. However, many of today’s fiber optic products were designed 20-plus years ago and while they have undergone changes and improvements in performance and application, little has been done to advance and innovate the product lines themselves in terms of use. Fiber optic transmission for the security market has advanced to the true definition of ‘plug it in and it works.’ No matter if it is video with PTZ, access control, intrusion, or intercom, most fiber optic products can adeptly accommodate the functions.

But as the applications supported by fiber optics have increased over the years, little has been done to make the products easier to deploy. As an example, many fiber optic products require the use of two optical fibers to handle the transmission of both video and PTZ control data. Most manufacturers offer models that use “wavelength division multiplexing” to accomplish hosting multiple channels on a single fiber. Unfortunately, this adds considerable cost to the product. Part of the benefit of using fiber optics has always been in the capability to reduce the transmission media required in an application. Using two fibers to accomplish what can be easily supported by one seems like a natural evolution. Using one fiber to accomplish what had previously required the use of two was a natural evolution in fiber optic product design.

ComNet fiber optic products were designed from the ground up to address the challenge of single fiber and are predominantly of this type of design. Using new components and available optics, creating a better performing line using a single optical fiber was an easy undertaking, and pricing it at a level competitive with other manufacturers’ two fiber products a logical choice.

Single fiber frees transmission

The benefit to the installing dealer and ultimately the end-user in freeing up that additional fiber is that it can be used for other applications. In an existing application, if the previous two-fiber equipment is upgraded to a ComNet single fiber design, the extra fiber can be used for applications such as access control or intrusion detection alarms, for example.

In today’s Ethernet world, having an additional fiber for an internal local area network (LAN) is an extremely valuable commodity. Due to its exceptional bandwidth capabilities, optical fiber is still the best available medium for network infrastructure. With the need for video over IP CCTV, gigabit Ethernet networks are best suited to accommodate the required bandwidth. Optical fiber can also extend the distances between devices from 10 to 50 times further than standard Category 5 cables. That means that the one fiber previously used to transport a single channel of video or control data can now be used as the backbone for an entire LAN. That simple feature translates into big savings to the end-user and adds more value overall to the fiber transmission system.

Your installation choice

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